European stainless flats prices increase

European prices for stainless cold rolled coil are increasing as all mills are pushing up values on high processing costs and the impact of raw materials, sources tell Kallanish.

Mills in Europe are now asking for €2,580-2,600/tonne ($2,809-2,831) delivered for stainless CRC for May delivery. These values, however, have not yet been paid. Italian contracts are hovering at €2,480-2,500/t on average, while European CRC is pegged at €2,500-2,530/t delivered, sources suggest.

Re-rollers and service centre sources in Italy say they are increasing sheet and tube prices, but they are operating in a two-tier market. Both Italian and northern EU sources note downstream consumption is very slow and large end-users are buying limited material. Stainless HRC prices in Italy remain weak due to the presence of imports from Asian countries. Domestic values stand at €2,250-2,300/t delivered, with Asian material being bought in Italy at €1,900/t cfr.

However, while coil demand and prices are ticking up, suppliers find it difficult to obtain increases on sheet and other coil derivatives. Two service centre sources doubt the latest coil increases for May delivery will be successful because of weak demand downstream and because steelmakers are refusing to implement production stoppages. Customers are being offered material with short lead times and are not pressed to buy.

Natalia Capra France